If trade shows are part of your branding strategy (or if you think they should be), you may be concerned about the high level of stress, and the low level of lead generation, they seem to cause. This is quite common, but also avoidable. Read on to learn about how you can take a different approach to trade shows, for a very different experience.
Trade Shows for Visibility and Profit: A Branding Strategy
Trade shows can be goldmines for lead generation, building brand awareness, and boosting the reputation of your personal and corporate brands. However, they prove to be complicated, demanding, and under-whelming experiences for many.
There are things you can do to not only make trade shows more fruitful, but keep the stress level low. Here are some pieces of advice from the branding strategy experts at How to Build a Brand:
- Ask Important Questions before Booking: Where will the booth be located? Is it in a high-traffic area? What exhibits will be near yours—are they competitors and is that a good thing for your brand? Will the lighting be complimentary to your exhibit? What other events are happening in town at the same time and will that hurt your numbers or enhance them?
- Prepare: Last-minute stress is not going to help anyone. Start at least one month in advance. Prepare press releases, print materials, plan your engagement branding strategy, schedule social media updates, and secure all necessary materials early. Procrastination will add to your stress and subtract from your trade show success.
- Market the Event: Target the people whom you know will be most interested in visiting you at a trade show. This could be a golden opportunity to meet face-to-face with people you’ve only interacted with online—to seal any pending “deals” or further solidify your relationship. You may want to consider asking for a pre-registration list from the trade show administration so that you can directly target those whom you know are planning on attending. Make sure you’re clear with details and make it easy to find your exhibit. Advertise any interactive displays or free gifts you’ll be offering to entice visitors.
- Book to Avoid Burn-Out: Clearly, you should avoid double and triple booking unless you have enough staff to cover all trade shows. This is pretty simple; however, what many business owners overlook is the booking of back-to-back trade shows. Have a strategy in place for keeping your people and your funds well-stocked and energized. Burn-out is no way to make the trade show portion of your branding strategy successful.
- Choose Shows with your Goals in Mind: What is your goal for trade shows? Do you want to get 20 new leads? Do you want to get your literature into the hands of 500 people? Do you want to promote a new product? Or amass 100 new likes on your Facebook page? Choose shows that are most conducive to the achievement of your goal(s). How much is each new goal realisation worth to your brand? And how much can you spend on each trade show to make the ROI worth it? Do the math and your success will speak for itself.
- Delegate Tasks: If one person is manning a trade show stand, that one person does not have to field every task in preparation for that trade show. Send two people—one to man the stand and one to capture photos and video. Ask home office team members to handle event marketing. Split up staff to work multiple trade shows. Use your most creative people to design your stand’s aesthetics. This should be a team effort, with each talent used well.
- Use the Cyber: Take advantage of the convenience and reach of social media, even whilst working a trade show. Too many professionals spend the day running from one end of the convention hall to the other. Communicate in the best way we all know how: through social media updates, whenever appropriate.
- Make it Interactive: Trade show booths with “things to do” get the most action…and therefore, the biggest ROIs. Consider hosting a game with prizes, or a by-chance giveaway to boost interest. Hand out free gifts. Make your literature more exciting and conversation-worthy than the average brochure.
- Follow-Up Promptly: Every contact you make, every business card you collect, every eyebrow you raise…is an opportunity for the acquisition of a loyal, ideal client. Make contact the day after the trade show, if possible. And try to personalise every communication, for the edge your brand needs.
If you think trade shows might be just the thing your branding strategy needs, we can help. Plan on attending our next instalment of the B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a full-day, fully-immersive branding strategy experience designed to make your brand more visible…and therefore, more profitable. Registration is easy. Just click here.